Our much loved, William Andrew Vertanen, left this world on Sunday, October 3, 2021 he was 74 years old.
Billy was born to William and Louise Vertanen of Keweenaw Bay on April 16,1947. He grew up on the family farm on the shores of Lake Superior. He attended school at the elementary school in Keweenaw Bay and later graduated from Baraga High School in 1965. Growing up his Father Bill and Uncle Leon taught him to hunt, fish and trap, hobbies that he enjoyed throughout his life.
Bill would meet his future wife, Vicky Manning, at a local gas station. They noticed each other when cruising around with friends. The drivers of each car knew one another and pulled into the gas station to talk. They were married on May, 20 1972 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in L'Anse Ml. They started their married life in Baraga in a small apartment, until they built their home in Keweenaw Bay. They were married for 49 years.
Bill had always been a hard worker and a good provider for his family. He started working at Pettibone when he was in high school. When the State Prison opened in Baraga, he went back to school to become a Correctional Officer, where he later retired from. He spent 35 years in the National Guard A Company, 107th Engineer Battalio_n where he was proud to serve his country. He was active for 55 years in the Keweenaw Bay Volunteer Fire Department. During
that time he held the offices of secretary and treasurer.
He was always willing to help others. He served his family and always went above and beyond for us. He showed up for big and small events. From birthdays, and graduations to baby showers for his granddaughter's new doll. Everytime one of his girls moved: he was there.
Car troubles: he was there, Needing a few extra dollars: he was there. Wanting to drop out of college: he was there encouraging me to not give up, so I kept going and now I have a job that I love, because he was there.
He was a quiet guy, but was always quick with a one liner or inappropriate joke. I can't even tell you how many times I have heard my mother say, "Billy, don't say words like that in front of the girls!" He would chuckle.
He was mischievous, always making us laugh. He bought a new pair of shoes. He kept the tags on, it drove Vicky crazy, but he did it anyway, even going as far as hiding his shoes at night, so she couldn't cut the tags off while he slept. He was always doing things like that. We will miss that about him.
Bill loved finding treasures and spent many years cruising the area for things to buy and then resell in his garage sales. He had a sale every summer and would spend hours meeting new people and sharing stories about the items he found. He was a master at filling his small car with his treasures to bring home. You may have seen him riding with a cabinet tied to his roof or a 5 piece dining set sticking out of his trunk, held down with twine. He was a simple man, and wasn't that interested in fancy things, like a truck, his car worked perfectly for moving big items.
He enjoyed feeding the birds and watching the hummingbird feeder in the backyard. He would drive to town each evening to grab the local paper. He enjoy d doing sudoku puzzles. For many years he would build birdhouses from driftwood that he would collect along the shores of Lake Superior. In the winter he would make beautiful cedar wreaths. He loved being home and didn't travel much. He liked to stay busy and active.
He loved his girls, Vicky and daughters Kim and Julie. He was the only guy in our family until Henry came along and married his daughter Kim. He also loved his only grandchild, his granddaughter Quincy or "Blueberry" as they would affectionately call each other.
Bill is survived by his wife, Vicky of Baraga, two daughters, Kim (Henry) Schwanke and Julie Vertanen both of Marquette. His granddaughter Quincy Schwanke of Marquette. Two sisters, Gail (Norm Tikkanen) Hakola of L'Anse and Julie (Kurt) Kuure of Houghton. His sister and brother in laws, Mark and Linnea Manning, Jim and Rosie Manning, Polly Manning, Bob Manning, John Manning (Julie Kolaas), Mary Dee Shanahan, and Katy (Joe) Schutte. Cousins, Len ( Anne) Buckman and MaryEllyn Henriksen. Many nieces and nephews, family and friends. His childhood friend, Bob Jarvi.
Those who preceded him in death are his parents, William and Louise Vertanen and his sister Patsy Vertanen. His Mother and Father in law, Herb and Mary Faith Manning. His brother in-laws, Joseph Manning and Tim Shanahan; sister-in-law Kathy Manning. His grandson, who we lost early in pregnancy, Andrew Schwanke.
Visitation will be on Monday, October 11th from 11-12 p.m. at Jacobson Funeral Home. Military rites will be held at the Baraga Cemetery at 12:30 p.m. under the direction of the American Legion Post 444. A luncheon will follow at the Keweenaw Bay Fire Hall.
To-Da-Loo, we love you, Dad!
Friends may sign Bill’s guest book or send condolences at www.jacobsonfuneralhome.com
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